Austra, Gemini Club (DJ set) | Beauty Bar | Rock, Pop, Etc | Chicago Reader

Austra, Gemini Club (DJ set) Recommended Soundboard

When: Sat., May 21, 9 p.m. 2011

Dark female-fronted electro-pop, the kind that tends to come with slightly ironic cloaks or swaths of outrageous eye makeup, has been doing pretty well as of late: there's Bat for Lashes (Natasha Khan), Glasser (Cameron Mesirow), and of course Fever Ray (Karin Dreijer Andersson of the Knife). Add to that list Austra, a new Toronto trio headed by Katie Stelmanis and her shape-shifting, ethereal voice. Their promising debut, Feel It Break (Domino), doesn't exactly reinvent the subgenre—self-­consciously dramatic song titles like "Darken Her Horse," "Spellwork," and "Shoot the Water" make it easy to guess what it'll sound like—but even when the beats are a bit colorless, Stelmanis keeps the songs fresh with her bewitching, Siouxsie Sioux-influenced gothic mystique. Trained in opera, she can lift her droning vocals effortlessly into a smooth, airy upper register or drop into a throaty sort of sassy, sultry sing-talking. Stelmanis definitely gets it, but whether or not Austra the band are worthy of their own mood-lighting technician remains to be seen. —Kevin Warwick

Price: $5

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